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Illuminating the way forward with digital manufacturing

To address modern challenges throughout manufacturing, Sandvik has created the Lighthouse program. Leveraging technology, this digital initiative engages customers and supports their pursuit of zero downtime and maximum efficiency across all departments.

Sandvik Lighthouse Factories

Manufacturing is evolving at a pace that is increasing exponentially. With COVID-19 this pace has accelerated digital transformation, shifting the nature of manufacturing to seamless workflow through automation. Sandvik is an integral part of the reality of Smart Manufacturing. From software and hardware developers, people on the shop floor and those who educate the market, are all working together to define that concept and piece together a clearer path of the future. Sandvik has created a Lighthouse program to help customers piece together various disconnected technology including metrology, robotics, and digital tool management.

In its emerging stage, Sandvik has the ambition to provide solutions that are easier to learn and use, more automated and more tightly integrated to create complete modular packages to be combined, and compatible, in diversified industrial landscapes.

Lighthouses – recognized and respected landmarks

Sandvik products and solutions are fortunate to be widely known and used in the world, and with its user base, customers provide feedback on products used in their shops. On the other hand, Sandvik desires to operate in an open eco-system, where its products interact well with complementary products in the industry, so that all the pieces work together. This is what a lighthouse represents, and results to date have been predictable – improved efficiency, enhanced quality, and reduced waste for customers.

Mathias Johansson, President of Design and Planning Automation at Sandvik“Through this journey, we are maintaining a customer first approach, inspiring innovation, addressing needs and providing solutions to a range of pain points”, says Mathias Johansson, President of Design and Planning Automation at Sandvik. “We are steadily gaining ground on the gaps that exist in customer operations as well” Johansson continues. Top priorities include cost and time savings, improved production and equipment effectiveness, and better control from the shop floor. All of these contribute to reducing waste, establishing sustainability, and increasing profitability. “And we are learning from, and teaching to, one another as we go forward with frequent engagement, installation, and analysis”, Johansson notes. All the while the joint development and refinement efforts build awareness of future technologies in manufacturing.

Collaborations to excel the pace of change

Collaborations are two-fold, with the first being behind the scenes between Sandvik and its network of experts. This core group of companies and individuals represents a think tank to propose and prove strategies, open communication, and remove barriers. These continuous efforts aim to further develop digital solutions that impact manufacturing performance, and to find and perfect ways to integrate them.

The portfolio consists of digital solutions that address different areas of shop floor processes. Specifically, inventory management (CRIBWISE), machine monitoring (Comara), CAD/CAM software (SigmaNEST, Cimatron and Mastercam), solely CAM software (GibbsCAM), and tool management (TDM). By combining technology and a variety of skills, Sandvik continuously learns and develops connected solutions that are customizable based on customer needs.

Boldly embracing digitalization in their operations, these Lighthouse factory customers, or early adopters, are progressive and tend to incorporate new technologies soon after introduction, which is influential to subsequent market acceptance.

Fårbo Mekaniska, is a job shop that focuses on Low Mix, High Volume (LMHV) production. “Ensuring that we have all (machining) parameters identified and set exactly to meet our customers specifications is critical since we run high volumes around the clock on several different dedicated cells”, says Mikael Vetterskog, CEO, Fårbo Mekaniska. “We have also reached a goal of zero downtime due to stock outs”, Vetterskog continues.

Everybody wins

This collaboration benefits both the customer (lighthouse partner) and Sandvik. Partners benefit from continuous learning and solutions targeted at their needs. They see the power of digitalization and get their hands on multiple integrated solutions for a more automated manufacturing flow. Noted are things such as improved part quality, quickly resolved problems, and operators that are benefiting from the results of automation, alleviating some of their responsibilities. On an individual level, operators, managers, and every worker involved in the interactions are truly contributing, as well as gaining further experience and skills.

As for Sandvik, customers provide invaluable feedback from real-world installations, addressing additional needs and pain points and improving in-house efficiency. How lighthouse customers respond to a product is one of the better indicators of how it will fare overall, in a sense helping predict future acceptance by:

  • Exposing flaws in usability, to enable a more smooth and integrated experience
  • Providing an early business model for a collaborating partner / significant influencer

The greater understanding of customer needs and market trends is also increasing the engagement with customer partners as well as the larger market in which to replicate.

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